Advent: Praise the Lord, O my soul! Psalm 146:5-10

Psalm 146:5-10

5Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the LORD their God,

6who made heaven and earth,

the sea, and all that is in them;

who keeps faith forever;

7who executes justice for the oppressed;

who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free;

8the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.

The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;

the LORD loves the righteous.

9The LORD watches over the strangers;

he upholds the orphan and the widow,

but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10The LORD will reign forever,

your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the LORD!

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • As you inhale say, “Praise the Lord!”
  • As you exhale say, “Praise the Lord, O my soul!”
  • Continue this exercise and notice how your body desires to praise the Lord.
  • Where do you feel freedom?
  • Is there any tension you need to let go?
  • Recognize the tension.  Offer praise to God through this place in you.
  • Name the ways the Lord sets you free.
  • Name the ways the Lord feeds  you.
  • Name the ways the Lord opens your eyes to see.
  • Name the ways the Lord embraces the stranger, the widow, the orphan in you.
  • What praises arise within you?
  • Offer these to the Lord.
  • Savor these praises.  Keep them on your tongue that you might lift these praises again and again throughout the day.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 15, 2019, the Third Sunday of Advent (Year A)

Isaiah 35:1-10
Psalm 146:5-10
Luke 1:47-55
James 5:7-10
Matthew 11:2-11

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Rev. Dr. Lil Smith is a trained spiritual director, supervisor, and co-founder of Retreat House Spirituality Center in Richardson, TX.  Upon completion of her spiritual direction certification, Lil began Praying the Lectionary in 2011 as a spiritual practice for her morning prayer time.  Instead of reading about someone else’s experience of God, it was important for her to create a prayer practice that would encourage felt sense experience of the Holy emerging from within.  It dawned on her others might enjoy the practice, as well.  So she began to share them on this site.

As you experience the practice of Praying the Lectionary, adopt a loving, caring, and compassionate stance.  If the end of your prayer and meditation time is not pointing to love and hope, there is more work to do.  Keep wrestling.  God is faithful to your journey.  Love and hope will emerge.  Be gentle with yourself and befriend any judgment that arises in you.

Advent: Mary and a Magnificent Response – Luke 1:47-55

LUKE 1:47-55

46b My soul magnifies the Lord,
47       and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48  for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49  for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50  His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51  He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52  He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53  he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54  He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55  according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What song is being born in you?
  • How does this song reflect God’s faithfulness.
  • What promise will God fulfill?
  • What surprises you?
  • What hope is being turned into joy?
  • What mercy have you experienced?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to recognize the song arising in you and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 15, 2019, the Third Sunday of Advent (Year A)

Isaiah 35:1-10
Psalm 146:5-10
Luke 1:47-55
James 5:7-10
Matthew 11:2-11

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Rev. Dr. Lil Smith is a trained spiritual director, supervisor, and co-founder of Retreat House Spirituality Center in Richardson, TX.  Upon completion of her spiritual direction certification, Lil began Praying the Lectionary in 2011 as a spiritual practice for her morning prayer time.  Instead of reading about someone else’s experience of God, it was important for her to create a prayer practice that would encourage felt sense experience of the Holy emerging from within.  It dawned on her others might enjoy the practice, as well.  So she began to share them on this site.

As you experience the practice of Praying the Lectionary, adopt a loving, caring, and compassionate stance.  If the end of your prayer and meditation time is not pointing to love and hope, there is more work to do.  Keep wrestling.  God is faithful to your journey.  Love and hope will emerge.  Be gentle with yourself and befriend any judgment that arises in you.

Christmas Joy! Isaiah 52:7-10 – Redeeming Love!

ISAIAH 52:7-10

7   How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8   Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,
together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see
the return of the LORD to Zion.
9   Break forth together into singing,
you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the LORD has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10  The LORD has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As you breathe, what peace do you realize?
  • Someone has news to share with you.
  • What peace is announced?
  • What song arises within you?
  • What comfort blankets you?
  • What salvation do you see?
  • What message does God have for you in this peace?
  • What message does God have for the world in this peace?
  • Give thanks to God for this new sense of peace and for any new insights you have been given.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Tuesday, December 25, 2018, the Nativity of Jesus Christ Year B 
Isaiah 52: 7-10
Psalm 98:1-9
Hebrews 1:1-4 (5-12)
John 1:1-14

(c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

Christmas Eve – Isaiah 9:2-7 – A Great Light

ISAIAH 9:2-7

2   The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness —
on them light has shined.
3   You have multiplied the nation,
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as people exult when dividing plunder.
4   For the yoke of their burden,
and the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5   For all the boots of the tramping warriors
and all the garments rolled in blood
shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
6   For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7   His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit in silence five to fifteen minutes embracing the great light that shines before you.
  • What darkness in you desires to be overcome by the light?
  • Allow the light of Christ to warm this desire within you.
  • Embrace the light.
  • Savor any peace that comes.
  • How will you follow the light?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time of new life and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Monday, December 24, 2018, Christmas Eve (Year C)
Isaiah 9:2-7
Psalm 96:1-13
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

(c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

Advent – Luke 21:25-36 – Be alert at all times

Luke 21:25-36

25“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

29Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

34“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, 35like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • As you connect with the breath, what signs do you see of Christ coming in the world?
  • What words of Christ never pass away?
  • How does the Word keep you on guard?
  • How does the Word keep the world on guard?
  • How does this prepare you to stand before the Son of Man?
  • What is God’s message for you.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 2, 2018, the First Sunday of Advent (Year C)

  • Jeremiah 33:14-16 
  • Psalm 25:1-10
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
  • Luke 21:25-36

(c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

Advent: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 – May God strengthen your hearts in holiness

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

9How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? 10Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.

11Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. 12And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. 13And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • As the breath opens your chest and your heart, consider those mentors who have loved you and supported you.
  • Consider those who would cross the miles to sit by your side, to pray for you, to accept that phone call in the middle of the night.
  • They are giving thanks for you always.
  • What strengthening of holiness in your heart do you need today?
  • Be held by these mentors and by God, knowing that your heart is safe and will be filled with love and caring.  For this is the promise of Advent as we await the coming of The Holy One once again.
  • Be held and loved.  Be humble and powerless.
  • Be open to the love of God showering you.
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 2, 2018, the First Sunday of Advent (Year C)

  • Jeremiah 33:14-16 
  • Psalm 25:1-10
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
  • Luke 21:25-36

(c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

Advent – Psalm 25:1-10 – Lead me in your truth and teach me

Psalm 25:1-10

1To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
3Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
teach me your paths.
5Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.
6Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
7Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, O LORD!
8Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
10All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Push back your shoulders, opening your chest.  Lift your chest as high as you can when you inhale.  Feel yourself lifting your soul to God.
  • Continue this exercise opening yourself, lifting your soul to God, and trusting God with your full being.
    Offer your sins and transgression to God whom you trust with your full being.
  • Feel the forgiveness and love showered upon you.
  • God leads and teaches the humble.
  • For those who are truly sorry, in the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.
  • On what path is God leading you today?
  • Are there temptations on the path?
  • How will God steer you away from temptation?
  • What instruction do you hear?
  • What do you need to let go to follow?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 2, 2018, the First Sunday of Advent (Year C)

  • Jeremiah 33:14-16 
  • Psalm 25:1-10
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
  • Luke 21:25-36

(c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

John 18:33-37 – “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

John 18:33-37

33Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Push back your shoulders as you breathe deeply, allowing your chest to expand fully and free you from any tension.
  • Continue to be opened by the breath.
  • Jesus came into this world to be Lord of those who belong to the truth.
  • How do you follow the truth?
  • What voice of Jesus do you hear?
  • What words are written on your heart?
  • What words rise to your lips?
  • How does Jesus want you to respond to the truth?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 18, 2018, the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Samuel 1:4-20
1 Samuel 2:1-10
Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18) 19-25
Mark 13:1-8

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings. (c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Revelation 1:4b-8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega”

Revelation 1:4b-8

4b Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen.

8“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • As you open yourself with the breath, feel the freedom Christ has given you from your sins by his blood.
  • Give thanks for this freedom.  Savor the freedom.
  • Consider today how God continues to reveal God’s self to you.
  • How do you know God through your experience?
  • Breathe and remember the faithfulness of God in your journey.
  • What promise and hope do you carry with you into the day?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Keep awake for more glimpses of God throughout your day.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

 

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 18, 2018, the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Samuel 1:4-20
1 Samuel 2:1-10
Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18) 19-25
Mark 13:1-8

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings. (c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Psalm 132 – I have prepared a lamp for my anointed one

Psalm 132:1-12 (13-18)

1O LORD, remember in David’s favor
all the hardships he endured;
2how he swore to the LORD
and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
3“I will not enter my house
or get into my bed;
4I will not give sleep to my eyes
or slumber to my eyelids,
5until I find a place for the LORD,
a dwelling-place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
6We heard of it in Ephrathah;
we found it in the fields of Jaar.
7“Let us go to his dwelling-place;
let us worship at his footstool.
8Rise up, O LORD, and go to your resting-place,
you and the ark of your might.
9Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
and let your faithful shout for joy.
10For your servant David’s sake
do not turn away the face of your anointed one.
11The LORD swore to David a sure oath
from which he will not turn back:
“One of the sons of your body
I will set on your throne.
12If your sons keep my covenant
and my decrees that I shall teach them,
their sons also, for evermore,
shall sit on your throne.”
13For the LORD has chosen Zion;
he has desired it for his habitation:
14“This is my resting-place for ever;
here I will reside, for I have desired it.
15I will abundantly bless its provisions;
I will satisfy its poor with bread.
16Its priests I will clothe with salvation,
and its faithful will shout for joy.
17There I will cause a horn to sprout up for David;
I have prepared a lamp for my anointed one.
18His enemies I will clothe with disgrace,
but on him, his crown will gleam.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Open yourself to the dwelling place of the Lord.
  • Free yourself to worship at his footstool.
  • The Lord has prepared a lamp for you.
  • Allow the light of the lamp to brighten your face.
  • Notice how the flame dances.
  • Notice how the color moves.
  • What warmth do you feel?
  • What is gleaming within you?
  • What emanates from you?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 18, 2018, the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Samuel 1:4-20
1 Samuel 2:1-10
Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18) 19-25
Mark 13:1-8

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings. (c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD